Personal · Storytime

The Ones Who Can Bring Peace (Part I)

“Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.” — Peter Hoeg

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     Starting with the antiquity traveling had fascinated people around the world. It is a gene we have inside of us, an impulse that makes us want to discover more about the world we live in. Not the distances which you are making through will transform you into a traveler but the willing to discover the space and the people that surrender you.

     Travelling is changing people from inside to outside. It makes us more aware of the world we are living in, it helps us to find ourselves and maybe the most important thing is that it teaches us tolerance which is one of the most important human virtues. It opens our minds and our hearts and it strengthens the connection between people worldwide.

     First of all, we have to define the term „traveler”. Is the standard definition of someone who travels especially from distant lands enough or the term hides a more complex meaning? It must be more than that. Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit. A traveler is more than just a person who decides to go from a point A to a point B. A traveler is someone who decides to step out of their comfort zone, to pursue their dreams. Travelers are people who feel like out there, somewhere, there is so much more than they know, people who want to know more about this world, people who wish to embrace different cultures and to interact with other people. These are the persons who are building bridges between strangers to facilitate human connection and by this, they are not helping only themselves but also the people they meet along their way to make positive changes in their lives.

     Travel is one of the most ancient and common aspects of human life and it can be traced back to mythical times. Cretans, Babylonians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Jews and Greeks who were initially focused on themselves and saw their own countries as the centre of the world, began, at some point later, to meet neighbours and other people by travelling to their countries, exchanging goods, sharing experience and building up their cultural and spiritual life. Also, there is evidence of travel motivated by tourism in Egypt, with visitors and scribes coming to view and record the pyramids and other religious monuments.

     Historians and researchers have proven that people traveled even thousands of years ago. Of course, in that context, we are not talking about traveling as a pleasure but as a necessity. This proves that we always had to deal with this process only the reason for initiating it was different.

     In the very early historical times traveling came along with aggression because people who were traveling had as their main reason the need of expansion. Only later traveling became a form of exploring the world in a peaceful way and to get to know other people from different regions. In the Iron Age people were going hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of miles exploring vast territories. For example, the Celts who were ancient Indo-European tribes had their origins in central Europe but they have expanded by trans-cultural diffusion or migration to the British Isles, France, Bohemia, Poland, the Iberian Peninsula and northern Italy, eastern Europe and even to the lands where today we find Turkey. During this period of time all over the world, the tribes were migrating from a place to another.

 

to be continued.

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Travel

Discovering the Ancient City of Ephesus

   Since I am in love with history and archaeology is what I am doing on a daily basis, the fact that I felt in love with Ephesus doesn’t come as a surprise. It lays on the Aegean Coast of Turkey, near the popular coastal resort of Kusadasi. Ephesus is to Turkey what the Colosseum is to Rome and the pyramids are to Egypt.

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   The first thing I visited when I arrived there was the church of Mary. It is located in the south stoa of the Olympieion next to the harbor of Ephesus (close to the car parking lot). The church is dated to the early 5th century and some archaeological evidence suggest that the church was built on the ruins of an earlier Roman basilica-like building abandoned around the 3rd century. Mother Mary’s House is said to be the last house where the Virgin Mother lived before Her Assumption.

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   The next stop was The Magnesian Gate also referred to as the south gate. There are people who say it’s the best to start here and make your way down to the north gate, a thing with which I tend to agree.

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   Everything you will see around you is impressive and one of the most beautiful things are the massive columns. Some of them are broken, some were well restored, but nonetheless, they are beautiful. There are columns elevated on pedestals, ones that are 13 m high, columns with capitals that are works of art.

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   The city has a very diverse timeline but historians have dated the first signs of habitation back to the 10th century BC. It flourished after it came under the control of the Romans in the second century BC. Also, Ephesus is mentioned in the Bible and it is known as being one of the seven churches of Revelation which were seven major churches of Early Christianity. You don’t have to associate the modern concept of a church to these ones but to see them as local congregations of Christians living in each city, and not merely as the buildings in which they gathered for worship.

   Walking around the site you will be able to see places such as the Library of Celsus, The Temple of Artemis known as being one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the  Temple of Hadrian, the public latrines or the brothel. Aamazing architecture will surround you all over the place and last but not least, you will meet the citizens of Ephesus – the cats.

   These are the approximate prices but as far as I know, you can pay only in Turkish lira.

Ephesus: 10.5 euro per person
House of Mary: 7 Euro per person
Terrace Houses: 5.5 Euro per person
Basilica of St. John: 3 euro per person
Archeological Museum of Ephesus: 3 Euro per person

   Note: If you are going during summer make sure you don’t forget to bring a bottle of water since you will have to walk around for a couple of hours.

Travel

1 Year Travel Bucket List

  1. To see the sunrise in the desert
  2. To visit Cairo
  3. To visit Luxor
  4. To eat tajine in Tunis
  5. To discover new Medinas around Morocco
  6. To learn how to surf
  7. To take a walk in Pompei
  8. To eat gelato in Rome
  9. To visit Istanbul
  10. To enjoy a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia
  11. To try a Hammam
  12. To see monkeys in their natural habitat
  13. To enjoy a city break in Amsterdam during spring or fall
  14. To drink frappé in Athens
  15. To visit as many museums as possible wherever I go
Personal · Uncategorized

Take A Risk

     There comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to face some choices, some of them difficult, some of them easier. It might be about changing your career, about having a child or moving to a new place, or it can be anything else. All of these are lifechanging factors and just like these ones, there comes another one which is easier do deal with but it will still change the way you see things: travelling alone.
The first step is to have the courage to travel alone. If it is the first time you are doing it you should start planning your trip: book your tickets and your hotel/hostel room and try to make a plan for each day of your staying. Of course you won’t be able to respect everything as you planned but at least the most important things are fixed.

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Wandering the world by yourself is like gambling: you can never know if you will win or lose, if it will be good or bad. It is a risk you are willing to take and by that it means you are ready to face the problems that might appear. Even though it can be difficult to travel by yourself and having no friend to accompany you, you will see that you are able to handle things better than you thought you would be. A journey on your own will make you return as a new person: you will feel more independent and confident and you will realize that you are capable of so much more. All of these will make you want to explore the world more and by exploring it you will actually learn new things about yourself.
If it is your first time to travel alone and you don’t want to take a big risk you should choose a destination that is not so far away from your home. You can have a city break in a city close to yours, you can go camping for a couple of days or you can make an itinerary and visit some places close to your hometown which you never visited before.
     Things you shouldn’t forget to take with you: your ID card/ Passport, cash (since there are places where you can’t find an ATM or you can’t pay by credit card), phone charger or external battery, personal hygiene products, pills (especially pain killers), sunscreen, wet wipes, towel. If you know you might get involved in some activities you should also take with you the necessary things for doing them: sports gear, camping equipment.